The theme for my writers’ group over the New Year is ‘an overheard conversation’- this is my flash fiction response. The part about Foreign Aid is a conversation I’ve heard more than once!
Parvati stands in front of the frozen food compartments with her mobile phone pressed between her shoulder and ear. Her voice carries but she isn’t shouting.
“Do you want crinkle or chunky chips?” After barely a pause she leans into the iced chasm and fishes out a large bag of chunky chips.
“Can you check to see if we need more peas?” Another microsecond pause and she brings out a large bag of frozen peas which she dumps unceremoniously into her nearly full to bursting shopping trolley. As she pushes it to the next isle she becomes aware of someone trying to catch her attention by waving her arms from the textile section.
“Hi Parvati – looks like you’re nearly finished.”
It’s her friend, Helen who gives her a quick hug.
Parvati hurriedly drops her phone into her red handbag. Helen is speaking, “Have you heard the latest? River View’s flooded again – water’s about a metre deep in numbers 8 -20.”
Parvati nods and says she is glad she lives on a hill. Helen continues.
“You know what gets me – all that foreign aid – it’s ridiculous all those millions could be spent on proper flood defences. And guess what? The Flood Minister’s spent Christmas in Bar-bloody- Bados!”
Parvati’s face contorts briefly in empathy and she jabs her finger for emphasis –
“I’d stop most of the foreign aid – I mean for all we know it could be going to fund ISIS. Anyway, India doesn’t need Aid – there’s too much corruption there!”
“Exactly – and you should know, eh Parvati?”
The two friends push their trolleys between the Dairy produce and the Ready Meal isles. Parvati heads for the Asian Food section and Helen follows.
Parvati points to a jar of curry mix. “Have you tried the Tikka Masala Paste? – it really does the job.”
Helen smiles and spits out a few more nuggets.
“I thought you’d be more authentic; why choose Pataks all the time? You should try the Bangalore Biryani Mix – look it’s on Special Offer.”
Parvati reaches for a jar of the Biryani and places it in her trolley.
“Well that’s me finished. See you Helen. Let’s hope the storms pass and we can get back to normal.”
Parvati heads towards a checkout while Helen continues her weekly shop.